Ben Parzybok: Asleep in the Streets of the First City (An excerpt)

(An excerpt from the novel-in-progress Asleep in the Streets of the First City)

From the small rise Marvin’s land afforded, Henry sat with his neighbor and his horse, and watched the progress on the archaeological dig.

This, Henry thought, is the best part. The funds obtained. The work unfolding. It’s like holding in your lap a wrapped birthday present. Except the thrill — or at times the agony — of expectation is drawn out for weeks and months and years.

The boys — ranch hands both, Bert and Bruce — laid wooden boards for wheelbarrow tracks. His colleague Janet set up the station to filter the dirt, already sifting through for anything of note. The girls, Angie and Beth, undergrad students in archaeology, roped off the site into quadrants.

“The time has almost come,” Marvin said, gently shaking his beer can.

This had become the custom. Were he to drink with his aging neighbor, some allowance for the man’s knees must be made. To rise from the sunken state of a dilapidated lawn chair after working through cans the larger part of an afternoon was no small task for any man. There were always things to fetch.

“Oh?” Henry said, “You have a resources problem?”

“The waters have receded.”

Henry got to his feet. “It shall be addressed.”


When Henry left, Marvin’s horse Jupiter ambled forward a few clops and leaned his big leathery mouth near Marvin’s ear. Henry wondered what the horse might have to say, in his absence.

He fetched two more beers from the fridge in Marvin’s double-wide, took a leak and, returning, inspected the view from just behind Marvin. There was horizon as far as he could see. Flat or gently rolling Oregon scrub-land dominated by sage brush, with a few ancient volcanic features: tuff rings and lava upwellings, frozen in time. Distant specks marked attempted farms. In the far off distance he saw a black dot of an airborne craft against the hazy-blue sky. Sssshit, he sighed. He knew that aircraft.

He thought again of the other Oregon sites down south of them. Fort Rock and Paisley Caves and so many others, hidden to the public. Sites where sandals, and stone tools had been found, some nearly fourteen thousand years old. Significant, but nowhere near the ambition he had for their site. All of them arguably pointed here, like a great arrow.

Marvin aimed with the rear of his fresh can, twitching his mustache around as he thought out his words.

“Helicopter,” Henry said.

Marvin turned to him for explanation.

“The dig’s benefactor. The funder. Francis Calla. Forgot I had to meet with him today.”

“Here comes the money,” Marvin said, his voice like the stroke of a hand-saw against an old log. Marvin gestured his can now toward the dig, circling it. “You better practice your pitch on me.” Then he raised the drink half way to his lips and waited for Henry to begin speaking, his eyebrows raised, apparently unable to proceed until the proof was in.

More than anything, Henry disliked this, the money visits, where it was his job to sell the idea of the site. He was a scientist, and yet to provide this proof of a thing so fledgling was to curse it. Yes, the hypothesis was scrawled over pages of journals, was talked over incessantly with Janet, but to speak it aloud to anyone else? This was to undo it.

It’d first been in flyovers he’d seen the area and, he hardly admitted even to himself, he’d had a feeling. The area lay under the massive flood-wash that passed through fifteen thousand years ago, a flood so powerful it swept house-sized boulders before it like tumbleweeds in the wind.  Geologists claimed the strength of the river contained ten times the force of all rivers on Earth, combined. A city in its path would have been instantly pulverized, erased from history. But a city at its edge would have had a layer of sediment gently swept over it, arresting all life within. Tucked in by a blanket of glacier silt, to sleep for thousands of years. It was Janet who’d found the sharpened stone which even now he had in his pocket. The land owners before had unearthed a preponderance of objects. The stone a mere marker in all of their collective ascent from animal to whatever he was now, with his broken cellphone and pickup truck in need of a brake job.

Humans were traders, weaving great nets across enormous distances. It called to mind pictures of a small group of weary travelers, dressed in furs, dragging along their meager possessions. But not here. This land, Henry thought, was populated, so much more than they had all suspected. A hundred, two hundred thousand people in Oregon alone, trading mastodon fur for shells and sage-bark sandals, for worked spear tips, and so many other things that ten thousand years destroys. Here, close to the banks of the great river: Why travel, when the world conveyor belts all your comforts to your doorstop? It may have been the first city on Earth.

“So,” Henry said, and could see he’d startled Marvin, so long it’d been since he’d spoken the man had begun to drift into dreams. “Janet already explained the floods?”


Henry saw Bert stumble, laying out a plank across a small ditch they’d dug, one foot down in the ditch, one on the rise. He watched the young, taciturn ranch hand for a moment and wondered if he were drunk. Well. He himself was headed in that general direction, and he was in too good of a mood to play the hypocrite.

But see, Henry thought, the whole site was a goddamn hunch. If he dwelled on it too long then everything went to shit. The underground imaging suggested a linearity uncommon in the natural world. Early humans again, with their strange desire for order and straightness. This would not be the first time he’d chased unicorns. The papers he and Janet had published stood tall in his mind, but they were few among the graveyard of broken hunches that littered their past.

Jupiter’s big head appeared between them, eclipsing his view of Marvin. The horse worked something in his mouth and snorted a great burst of hot air. Henry saw his big glassy eye affixed on him.

He did not feel he could tell Marvin that walking the area one day last year, he’d felt like an iron filing obeying its magnet’s wish. Standing on the spot, for a moment he hallucinated the whole thing he believed to be below, 3D mapped out in his mind. That was not science!

“So it’s some kind of secret?” Marvin said.

Just as the explanation nearly crested his lips, at the dig below Bert did a deadman’s fall, taking out a section of twine and landing flat in the dirt. Henry stood. The boy was out cold, unmoving. Janet and the other kids ran to huddle around him.

“Heat stroke,” Marvin said. “Or I’m a horse’s uncle.”

“I —” Henry said. He saw Janet’s face turn toward him, and then he was running down the hill. In the minutes it took him to arrive on the scene he had time to imagine all of the worst-case scenarios. And so when Angie told him, her voice shrill with panic, that Bert had no pulse, he searched the sky for the imminent helicopter. A second later they all heard it.

Henry put his lips against the boy’s. A poet’s mouth, Janet had said, and so Henry imagined blowing sonnets into those lungs. Then he compressed the chest. For a moment there seemed the briefest breath, a wisp of life there. But when the boy’s chest went still again, Janet and he exchanged glances loaded with apocalyptic meaning…a boy dead on a dig.  With the press and police it would bring, the change to everything. Their crew and happiness, how they felt about their own work.  Henry thought of the boy’s parents out there in the world, unsuspecting.

In the meantime, the helicopter had landed. With Janet’s help he got the long, sinewy farm boy over his shoulder and hustled him to the copter, where their benefactor Francis, dressed as he was for a game of golf, his voice padding the air with Oh! oh!, as if a bottle of red wine poured out into white carpet, opened the door for them. A moment later the three of them were airborne, heading toward the closest hospital in The Dalles, Oregon.

Bert would have been thrilled to be having this ride. The ground spreading wide below them, the great mountains emerging from behind the rolling hills. Goddamnit. He brought his fist against the copter’s side window.

“Bert,” he said into the noisy cockpit. It came through Francis’ headphones and the wealthy man turned sudden man-of-action looked at him uncomprehendingly.

Henry reached back and put the third headset over Bert’s ears. His limp form sloped into the seat, his head lolled to one side, pressing tight against the shoulder strap.

“Bert!” He desperately needed to be doing something. Henry turned in his seat and gave the lifeless form a few punches to the heart, partly propelled by anger, he realized, but mostly to startle that pump into any kind of action. Lub-dub, goddamnit. Lub.

“What happened?” Francis’s voice now came weirdly into his own headphones. He hadn’t seen the man speak.

“Sun stroke? Heat stroke? Heart attack? Shit if I know. How long until we’re there?”

Francis grimaced into his mic.

The boy’s lips were slack. His weather-tanned face with a day or two of stubble, one cheek distorted by compression against gear in the back. His hair no longer than an inch or two. He was truly a handsome kid, a beautiful specimen in a long, lean way. One arm of his stretched into the seats between them, at the end, his large brown hand. The shape of the fingers, despite the callouses, were elegant.

They landed on the hospital’s heli-pad and emergency personnel fetched Bert immediately. Right there on the roof top they oxygenated and defibrillated him, so that his body leapt. And with it, Henry’s optimism.

He filled out paperwork, as if hacking away for an exam for which he’d been unaware, not even able to recall Bert’s last name. And then they whisked the boy away. Francis was ordered to remove his helicopter, and Henry wandered the halls of the hospital, bewildered and lost.

They had told him a room number and he’d been unable to follow whether it was the morgue or where the living might occupy a bed. Surely that’d been too much time for the brain to be without oxygen? The hallway floor glistened waxy-clean, and squeaked under his boots. He felt crusty and dirty, the taste of cheap beer in his mouth. He expected to see left behind him in his wake a trail of dust. Room 247. The door was locked. There was no window to look in. He camped outside of it, sinking into a squat, until a janitor appeared and revealed the room to be nothing more than a broom closet.

“Did you lose someone?” the janitor asked.

Henry nodded.

But instead of directions to a different room, the janitor had at ready an epic condolence speech, setting to one side his broom and folding his hands in front of him. In times like these, its important to think on what the deceased might wish the living to continue doing Until Henry realized their mutual mistake and took his leave. At a nurse’s station he inquired, knowing no more to say than “Bert,” and “brought in by helicopter.”


“Boss?” Henry said, apologetic that that was the best he could come up with. Even the nurse appeared to encourage him, with her look, to lie a little. A boss who does not know his employee’s last name.

“He’s only been here a few minutes. Thirty minutes maybe?”

The nurse shook her head. “I’m sorry, there’s no record here.”

Henry backed away into the hallway again. Searching his pockets he found no wallet or phone, only a dollar in change, which he used to purchase a packet of peanut M&Ms from a cafeteria vending machine. He wondered where Francis had gone — where does one recreationally park a helicopter? He decided to try room 347. There, a small crowd of medical personnel were closing up shop. Bert lay in bed, looking asleep and not at all dead, wired to machinery.

“Is he?” he asked a doctor, who washed his hands in the sink.

The doctor gave Henry a once-over, covered as he was with desert-dirt and grime, his clothes unchanged for an uncountable number of days, his breath a diesel concoction of cheap beer and hospital M&Ms. “We’ve given him a sedative. He’ll be out for a few hours. And you are?”

“So, he’s not dead?” It came out exasperated. He didn’t want to tell them how to do their jobs, but surely the kid would be braindead.

The doctor smiled indulgently. “He should be fine. He’s returning pretty regular brain activity. He dried his hands with some vigor. “You need to get a hold of his parents, boss.”

The doctor left, shaking his head.

He was right, Henry thought. Parents needed to be his first mission. For that he needed a last name, and for that he needed a phone. Surely Janet had a record. Absently he searched his pockets again, and found only a brochure on elder care — he had no idea why this was in his pocket — and the M&Ms. Folded on a chair were Bert’s clothes. He smiled toward the window, fighting against the internal critic who’d be having a heyday if Henry hadn’t learned to silence him.

Bert had a phone in his pants pocket! It was a fancy phone. It took him some time to figure out that what it wanted from him was a thumbprint in order to activate. Henry obliged repeatedly, and it registered its annoyance, until he remembered he had the owner’s fingers right there. He felt immensely pleased with his detective work, as he placed in turn each of Bert’s fingers on the device until the machine relented.

On the phone with Janet, he passed on the good news, and found that they had no name on file.

“What the hell is wrong with us? Aren’t we supposed to get like next of kin? References?”

“I question your use of plural pronouns,” Janet said.

Henry snorted. “Well? What should I do? Singularly I, that is. What do you, singular, recommend?”

“I dunno. Wait until he wakes up?”

“Seems sort of ineffectual. I’d like his parents to be here for that anyway.”

“What about his phone? Surely it knows who his mother is.”

“Huh.” He pulled it away from his ear and stared at its black glassy face. “Really?”

“Oh, Henry,” Janet said, the tone clearly implying something about his relationship with technology. “We’ll come up. We’ll be there in a few hours.”

After the call, he reapplied Bert’s thumbprint and carried the phone with him into the room’s small bathroom to relieve himself of the final remains of the day’s beers.

As if at the onset of some great reunion, or how a stack of papers might behave in a high-speed convertible, or anything else in which there was a tremendous attraction and motion, during the first fifteen seconds he was in the bathroom unbuckling his belt, while attempting not to let Bert’s phone fall asleep, the phone — as if blown from God’s own blowgun — shot itself directly into where the toilet’s water narrowed. The phone’s screen flashed white, illuminating the water surrounding it, and then went dark, like a sudden nirvana before becoming one with the universe.

Henry stood over the toilet, stunned. Then he thrust his hand in to retrieve it. But unlike the phone’s owner, it was un-revivable. He stood with it under the hand dryer, his internal critic more or less having his way with him now.

After, with resignation, he sat next to the hospital bed and stared at Bert.

“I don’t know what happened there, kid. I’m working you too hard? Is there something I should know?” The words felt eerie in the silent space of the hospital room. “I am really sorry,” he said, still unsure of how much he need be sorry for, though as a rule, happy to be a part of any apology. Would this human boy wake with his humanness stripped from him? Taking up one of Janet’s earlier accusations, he wielded it against himself. He was like a poison of complication. Everything he touched folded labyrinthine back into itself, weighted down by innumerable riders and accessory clauses, until it ground to a halt, spiraled into its own tunnely grave. He berated himself, until finally, as the western facing room lit up with apocalyptic sunset, Bert opened his eyes.

It was at this moment that Francis materialized. Ultra-tan and obviously finished with the adventure at hand.

“How’s our boy?” he said.

“He lives,” Henry said. “Right, hey?” He patted Bert’s leg, but the boy had not yet acknowledged anything. “He just woke up,” he said, whispering now.

Francis looked absolutely at odds with the room, as if a golden idol had been wheeled into the drab, white hospital, and sparkled whether the sun shone on it or no. As for Bert, he continued to say nothing. He stared into the light fixture and Henry could see from his eyes there was a different light there. He dreaded to find out what.

“You don’t have to stay here,” Henry told Francis. He felt like a schoolboy, wished there was a Mister he could address Francis with, without it making him come off like an asshole.

“Looks like we’ve done all we can here.”

“Yes exactly. Thank you so much,” Henry said. “I’ll take it from here. They’re coming to pick us up.”

Francis nodded, and Henry saw him catch his own reflection in the room’s mirror. “Got to gas up and get home!”

“I’m sure you do.” This, they were agreeing on, Henry saw. That each had nothing to say to the other. “Thanks again,” Henry said, more eager to push him from the room, to find out what had become of Bert in quiet and without his funder looking on.

When Francis left, Henry sat on the edge of Bert’s bed and, with some reluctance, made himself put his hand on the boy’s arm and keep it there. Were he himself to waken like so, he felt he’d like anyone’s hand on his own arm. The touch of the living a comfort.

“How are you doing, buddy?” he said.

It took a long moment for Bert to register his voice, but after a time he swiveled his gaze, his entire head, like he were the light of a lighthouse, until Henry was awash in it.

“I’m fine,” Bert said.

“Do you remember what happened?”

A dark shadow, a large night bird perhaps, crossed the beam of that lighthouse, flickering it momentarily dark and then back to light.

Idly, Bert removed the IV from his wrist — “Whoa! I don’t think you should do that,” Henry said — and then the tube that led to his nose.

“What are those?” Bert said.

“You’re in a hospital. You — passed out at the dig?” Henry stopped, unsure what to tell him. “Who’s the president?” The line came from some manual on head injuries. He could see it written out clearly on the page, an example of currency. But worried he’d squander his one chance at a data point, asked a follow-up question in quick succession. “I mean what’s your last name? Your last name.”

Bert looked at him thoughtfully — or hell, Henry didn’t know — maybe thought-lessly, an empty beam of nothing, all fireworks and no fire.

“I’m very tired,” Bert said. He scooted down into the hospital bed and turned on his side.

“Wait! Wait.” Henry rushed to the other side of the bed and punched the nurse’s call button frantically, and continued to do so until a nurse showed up. “He went to sleep — took out his things and went to sleep.”

Henry pointed at the boy’s wrist, where a thin drop of blood emerged and dripped to the floor.

“Ah,” she said. “That’s great news.” She checked his pulse, bandaged his wrist and told Henry there was nothing at all wrong in having a little sleep.

After she left, Henry paced the small room, his hands at his head. It had all started off so brilliantly, he thought. But now look what he’d done. He felt like he’d broken some terribly expensive toy, something in the boy’s mind altered. To make matters worse, he’d also broken the boy’s toy, that phone.

He gently placed his hand on Bert’s head — brown tuffs of hair that needed washed — and willed for what sat nestled inside to be whole. When Janet and the others appeared in the doorway, he whispered for them to come in.

They bunched together, their eyes wide.

“Who,” he whispered forcefully into the room, “who knows his last name?”

No one did.

“Is he taking drugs?” he said, feeling embarrassed to be asking the question, as if he were the boy’s anxious, and ready to be enraged, father.

Again, they all shook their head.

“Well,” Henry said. “Well, I suppose we find a hotel then?”

“You were going to find his last name from his phone?” Janet said.

“Yeah,” Henry waved his hand. “Yep!”

“Give it to me,” Janet said, “I’ll do it.”

“Nah,” Henry said. “I mean, alright.” He drew his finger over his throat in the process of handing it to her.

“I don’t get what you’re trying to say. It’s out of batteries?”

Angie said, “We think Bert should spend the night here.”

“Yes, of course,” Henry said.

“Oh, Bert,” Angie said and put her hand on his forehead. Henry eased out of the way, and the other two, Bruce and Beth, filed into either side of the bed and they too placed their hands on Bert.

“It’s not just batteries, is it?” Janet said.

“Mm,” he said.

“You did something to it, didn’t you?”

“Hey —” he said, a sort of defense, a sort of idiot’s excuse, wrapped into one.

“You should be hired to test them. You’re a phone genocidalist, an electronics bombardier.”

“It’s on my business card,” he said. “Also,” he gestured toward their hospitalized charge, “I’m good with humans.”

“That’s not your fault. You’re not taking credit for this, right? You saved his life.”

“No,” he said. “Alright. Of course not.” But of course he was. The boy was his to steward, and whatever the circumstances, he’d somehow stewarded him here. But he couldn’t help shake the feeling that it was something bigger than that. It was the combination of forces between himself and the site itself that had acted on Bert. The thought sank in him so perniciously he gave his head a shake to loose it from where it’d stuck to the inside of his skull. To understand and find the dead, did one not have to have seen death, to die into that chasm, eyes glued shut, breath stilled, and have a listen around?


Bert woke and the ensuing mini-reunion was joyful but stilted. Angie manifested cupcakes from a paper bag and Henry realized he was starving. Bert ate one slowly in bed, a curl of frosting stuck to his upper lip that no one dared to tell him about.

When the cupcakes were devoured, Bert pulled back the covers and stood, his gaze pinning each of them.

“Should you be up, Bert?” Henry surreptitiously gestured to Angie to press the nurse’s button.

Bert found his clothes and began to methodically put them on, the frosting still fast to his lip. “I’d like to go back now, please.”

“Oh, honey,” the nurse said — a whole hundred degrees warmer than when Henry had talked to her before. “Here, let’s get you back in bed.”

“No,” Bert said. “I would prefer to go back now.”

Henry watched the nurse become unnerved under the too-bright gaze of his digger.

“Sir,” she said.

“Is there —” Henry shrugged, “if we take him, is there something we can watch for or uh do?”

“He should stay here.”

“We are taking him with us,” Angie said.

He turned to Janet to see if she had an opinion but she was already packing everything up.


Outside, piled into Janet’s van, they felt like they’d stolen a priceless statue from a museum, everyone gleeful and nervous, treating the statue tenderly, talking over-loud.  But as they chewed into the dark distance, the van went quiet.

Henry wanted to query Bert’s mind, to put him to a human stress test: can I poke you here? How about here? Are you all there? What happened? Where are you? Who are your parents? What was it your brain fiddled with, its dark hands spinning silky neurons in the black, as oxygen slowly vapored from the room?  Also: How many fingers am I holding up?

But more than anything, he wanted to get the boy and the whole crew back home and to sleep so as to take a look at the whole thing tomorrow.

Every once in a while, Henry looked over at Janet, to see the greenish hue of the dashboard lights on her cheek, and wonder what she was thinking. Glancing back, he inspected the others. Angie’s neck was bent double. Her royal-we, greek-chorus mouth open, issuing a pre-snore. Bruce, next to her, stared out the opposite side window — or perhaps just asleep. Strong, steady Bruce, alpha Angie, and in the row behind, Bert, whose long gaze bored into the window’s reflection. Beside him Beth stole sly glances Bert’s direction.

Beth said: “How much longer, Mr. Henry?”

He smiled, the Mr. Henry catching him by surprise, after having the same impulse with Francis. Was he the same kind of mister to her? Mr. Henry sounded like a brand of household cleaner. “About an hour.” She nodded, and then turned to watch/not-watch Bert again.

Behind him, he heard Beth’s gentle voice say, “Are you OK Bert? Did you, do you feel like you died?”

Henry adjusted his vanity mirror to watch. Bert’s head made a quick, violent nod, as if he’d fallen asleep and the head fell of its own gravity. Henry started, but the boy smiled wanly. He was drifting into sleep, is all.

Beth reached her hand out and Bert clasped it with his.


The next morning he and Janet made an enormous breakfast for them. Omelettes being something Henry took some pride in, eighteen eggs were cracked, and various ingredients spilled in: parmesan, tomatoes, peppers, enough pepper to end the world. Janet sautéed greens. After they all sat in the small living room, among the books and maps and detritus of tools, and ate. There existed, Henry felt, a new camaraderie, the bonds built of an ordeal between them, but as he studied Bert he saw the ordeal was not yet over.

“You up for a shovel today?” Janet said.

“Yes,” Bert said.

Henry enjoyed the looks of horror on the others.

“We need someone down in the hole, with a good shovel arm,” Janet said.

Bert stared toward the window, his face expressionless, and then nodded his assent.

“Twelve hour shifts?” Janet said.

“We think he should get the day off!” Angie said.

“Yeah,” Beth said. The word springing out of her, the sound of ready rebellion just behind, if prompted.

“I’m pretty sure Janet’s joking,” Henry said.

Janet snorted. She had never been inclined to defend her reputation much, Henry remembered.

“But Bert, knowing you’re not a man with a tendency toward loquaciousness, you would tell us all if there was something we could do for you and — oh, christ!” Henry yelled, startling everyone in the room. “What in the hell is your last name?”

“Henry,” Janet said, by way of indicating a shout might not be the best avenue of inquiry.

Bert stared at him for a long moment, his lips moving silently, and everyone leaned in, swallowing their food, blinking encouragingly, empathetic in the pain of recall. “Johnson?”

“You don’t sound too sure,” Janet said.

“Second most popular surname in the nation,” Angie said. “Good odds.”

“OK, can we just, like, have all of you write your full names and emergency contact numbers down? Also Bert, I fucked your phone up. I’ll get you a new one, of course, but your parents’ number? I think we need to…”

Bert had placed his face in his hands and was holding as still as an artifact.

“Eh?” Henry said.

Beth stood next to him, her hand on his back. “What is it, Bert?”

“If it’s the phone —” Henry said and then shrugged. If it was the phone then fiddlesticks.

Bert finally whispered something, muffled against his hands, and Beth stooped next to him, her ear near his mouth.

“He says maybe it’s Miller. His last name.”

“He’s not sure?” Janet said.

“That’s like the sixth most popular,” Angie said. “Less good odds, but still a likely candidate.”

“Jesus Christ,” Henry said. “We’re not looking for the quantitative likelihood of his last name, just —  you know, his actual last name. Sorry, I mean. Where’s your wallet?”

“He keeps his information on his phone.”

“What?” Henry said. “On the — goddamnit.”

“I like Johnson better,” Bruce said. “Bert Johnson.”

Janet snorted. “Might as well add a title to him while we’re at it. Can we not knight him already?”

“Prince Bert,” Beth said. She touched the back of his hair gently and he removed his hands from his face and straightened up, a look of — Henry couldn’t think of what else it might be — epiphany on his face.

“I’d like to get started,” Bert said. There was a moment of quiet until everyone understood. Bert placed his plate in the sink, and then proceeded to the front door, waiting.

“Right,” Janet said.

“I’m kind of excited, too,” Beth said.

“Into the past!” Angie said. “With science!”

“So that’s how it is,” Janet said.

Henry half-stood, realizing he was sick to death of talking of last names. The boy wanted to get started. Bert, child of man. Bert of the sapiens. Who the hell cared what his lineage was?

“I’ll get the tools,” Bruce said.

God he loved this crew. Henry didn’t bother clearing plates. They all filed out of the old, tight farmhouse and dispersed toward the site.


Benjamin Parzybok is the author of the novels Couch and Sherwood Nation. He has been the creator/co-creator of many other projects, including Gumball Poetry (literary journal published in capsule machines), The Black Magic Insurance Agency (city-wide, one night alternate reality game), and Project Hamad (an effort to free a Guantanamo inmate and shed light on Habeas Corpus). He lives in Portland with the artist Laura Moulton and their two kids. He blogs at His twitter handle is @sparkwatson.

Ben Parzybok

Ben Parzybok


  1. […] with Paul D. Brazil, Philippe Diederich, Beverly Donofrio, K.A. Laity, and Ben Parzabok. Visual Art by Francis Denis, Sarah Katharina Kay, Claudio Parentela, Tammy Ruggles, Marsha […]

  2. […] At Sliver of Stone, we’re big fans of author Ben Parzybok who’s working on a new novel titled Asleep in the Streets of the First City. You can read an excerpt from the book here. […]

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